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Christmas Pudding w/ Butter Rum Sauce

I remember every year, the whole family would go to my Uncle Bill and Aunt Dorothy's house for Christmas. Everyone eagerly awaited the arrival of my Gramma...not only because she was the best Gramma ever, but because she was in charge of making this rich, steamed carrot pudding loaded with fruit. Back then, I couldn't stand this dessert, but she would still make me eat a bit, saying "it's Christmas, you little rascal!" I would take a scant teaspoon of pudding and drop it in my bowl full of the sweet, velvety butter rum sauce that she would make to go with it! Today, I make this pudding for my family and I still eat a little piece, just because "it's Christmas!" :)

To make this steamed pudding, you will need to grease, two pudding basins (1 large and 1 small or 2 small bowls)...You can also use cake tins as well.

In a large mixing bowl, add 1-1/4 cups of soft bread crumbs...take 2 slices of white bread, roll it into a loose ball and grate it on a cheese grater...this should equal around 1-1/4 cups.

Next, you will need 1 cup of finely shredded carrot (1 large and 1 small carrot, peeled),

...1 cup of finely shredded, peeled potato (1 large potato should do)

...1 cup of currants, 1 cup of raisins and a 1/2 cup of chopped dates,

1 cup of brown sugar...

3/4 of a cup of suet (found in the freezer of the meat section at your grocery store), will also need to add 2 tbsps. of sour milk or buttermilk to the mixture (I forgot to get a shot of that step), then stir everything together with wooden spoon until all is combined. *Note: to sour milk, add about a 1/4 tsp. of vinegar to 2 tbsps. of milk and let sit for 5 minutes.

Next, in a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup of all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp. of baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. of allspice and a 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg....mix together and add to the carrot mixture.

Finally, pour in about 2 tbsps. of rum...or more if you like a "racy" Christmas pudding!...with a wooden spoon, stir mixture together until fully combined...

...and divide among greased pudding bowls.

Cover tops with a double layer of waxed paper, a layer of tin foil and secure with kitchen string, trimming any excess paper and foil.

Place bowl on a rack in a roasting pan with water half way up the sides of basins...cover and place on high heat until water comes to a full boil...reduce heat to medium/high, keeping water at a fairly hard boil...steam puddings for about 2-1/2 hours, checking the water level will need to add more water as it evaporates. You do not want to boil the pan dry...I've pulled that stunt before! Remove from heat, uncover puddings...serve warm or store in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap until ready to use.

To make the "Butter Rum Sauce", you will need: brown sugar, heavy cream, vanilla, unsalted butter, rum (not pictured because I'm quite scattered at this moment), boiling water, corn starch, a dash of salt and vanilla.

In a medium saucepan, add 1-1/3 cups of packed dark or light brown sugar and place over medium heat...add about 2 tbsps. of water so the sugar doesn't scorch. Swirl the pan around as the sugar melts.

Bring sugar to a boil, then remove from heat (I just like to let the sugar settle down before I add the boiling water...I'm not a fan of a volcanic eruption of boiling sugar!)

Next, add 2 cups of boiling water to your sugar (the one that you have let settle down some)...return saucepan to the heat and return sugar mixture to a gentle boil.

Next, make a thin paste of 2 tbsps. of corn starch with 2 tbsps. of cold water...whisking as you pour the corn starch paste into the sauce...keep whisking as it simmers over medium/low heat until all of the starchy taste is gone and the sauce has thickened some.

Add a 1/4 cup of heavy cream (35%),

2 Tbsps. of rum...

...whisk to incorporate the cream and rum.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp. of vanilla and 2 tbsps. of unsalted butter until melted...pour into a container and store in the fridge until ready to use...The sauce will thicken quite a bit when cold but will be a pourable consistancy when heated up again.

To re-heat your puddings, you may re steam them, heat in the oven or in the microwave (check to see if your pudding basins can be microwaved first, as antique dishes generally don't do well in there)...once heated, invert pudding on to a serving plate...

...and drizzle the top with butter/rum sauce just before presenting the pudding to your guests...serve small wedges of pudding as it is quite rich...especially with the extra sauce you will place on the table, tantilizing everyone to add more!

Christmas Pudding

1-1/4 cup of soft bread crumbs

1 cup of finely grated carrot (peeled)

1 cup of finely grated potato (peeled)

1 cup of currants

1 cup of raisins

1/2 cup of chopped dates

1 cup of brown sugar

3/4 cup of suet

2 tbsps. of sour milk (or buttermilk)

1/2 cup of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of baking soda

1 tsp. of salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. of allspice

1/4 tsp. of nutmeg

2 tbsps. of rum

mix everything together in a large mixing bowl and divide among 2 greased pudding bowls. Cover with waxed paper and foil, then secure with kitchen string...steam for about 2-1/2 hours. Remove from heat and serve warm or store in the fridge covered in plastic wrap until ready to use. Reheat by re steaming, place in the oven or in the microwave.

Butter/Rum Sauce

1-1/3 cups of brown sugar

2 cups of boiling water

2 tbsps. of corn starch

2 tbsps. of cold water (plus 2 additonal tbsps. to add to the brown sugar to prevent scorching)

1 tsp. of vanilla

2 tbsps. of rum

2 tbsps. of unsalted butter

1/4 cup of heavy cream (35%)

In a medium saucepan, melt the brown sugar with 2 tbsps. of cold water. Swirl pan around as sugar melts and starts to bubble...remove from heat (to let the bubbling settle down), then add in the 2 cups of boiling water. Return to heat and bring mixture to a boil again...make a thin paste of the corn starch and water and pour into the bubbling sugar/water mixture...whisking as you pour. Simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until sauce starts to thicken and all of the starchy taste is gone. Next, pour in the cream and rum, stirring until combined. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla and the butter, stirring until butter has melted. Serve warm over pudding or put into containers and store in the fridge until ready to use...Enjoy! :)

Makes about 2-1/2 cups of sauce

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